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We felt that this cruise was the perfect blend of relaxation and travel. Unlike a transatlantic crossing, the ports were buffered on either side by sea days. I've included a detailed review of our room in the ratings. Embarkation We flew into Burbank around 11 am and took a 45 minute Lyft ride to the ship. Embarkation took less than 20 minutes, and we appreciated that the main dining room was open for lunch until 1:30 pm. Our rooms were ready by the time we had finished lunch. Food We ate the majority of our meals in the main dining room. We were pleasantly surprised to never be disappointed by a main course. The meats were always tender, and the fish and shellfish were always perfectly cooked and not overdone. Syam and Juliana were our waiters, and were some of the best we've had. We also enjoyed the two British-themed Pub Lunches in the Crown Grill. We also attended the Hawiian-themed lunch, but all agreed that those particular food items weren't spectacular. One reason we loved this itinerary was the afternoon tea on sea days. However, we were disappointed by the 5pm time for 1st seating supper. This made tea time (3:30 to 4:15 pm) seem more like hors d'oeuvres before supper. Fitness Center and Entertainment The fitness center was small, and the low ceilings made it feel even smaller. We did appreciate the complimentary sauna. We absolutely loved the live Amethyst Trio (classical instrumental music) performances in the piazza. However, we were disappointed by the lack of variety in the evening main theater entertainment (mostly comedians). But this gave us an excuse to go to bed early and get lots of extra sleep! Ports Hilo, Hawaii We took a private excursion through Big Island Aina Tours to see Volcanoes National Park. We had a fantastic experience! It was quite chilly at the park, and we were grateful the tour confirmation had recommended bringing jackets. Honolulu, Oahu We hired a Lyft to and from the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and took a private tour offered to veterans and active-duty military and their families. Nawiliwili, Kauai We were disappointed that this port was bypassed due to inclement weather. We were grateful to have reserved our rental car through Costco, so there was no cancellation fee. Lahaina, Maui We booked a rental car through Costco (the company was Budget), and were picked up by the rental car shuttle. Because this was a tender port, it was about an hour from the time our tender number was called to the time we were driving off in our rental car. We drove to the Maui Pineapple Tour (Maui Gold Plantation) in Makawao (an hour drive with breathtaking scenery). The tour was informative, fun, and much cheaper than booking through the cruise line. We also stopped at a Costco on our way back to the ship. This is a great place to buy macadamia nut gift boxes. We also saw the Maui Gold labeled pineapples for sale there. Ensenada, Mexico We docked here, but our party opted to stay on the ship and catch up on calls and emails since Mexico is in our phone plan. We did enjoy seeing dozens of seals swimming in the harbor near the ship. Disembarkation Extremely easy and streamlined. We flew through customs, even though we were bringing home pineapples from Maui (we were told they were fine to bring back to the mainland, but one never knows with customs!).

Refreshing Cruise

Star Princess Cruise Review by Speller

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2020
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview (obstructed view)
We felt that this cruise was the perfect blend of relaxation and travel. Unlike a transatlantic crossing, the ports were buffered on either side by sea days.

I've included a detailed review of our room in the ratings.

Embarkation

We flew into Burbank around 11 am and took a 45 minute Lyft ride to the ship. Embarkation took less than 20 minutes, and we appreciated that the main dining room was open for lunch until 1:30 pm. Our rooms were ready by the time we had finished lunch.

Food

We ate the majority of our meals in the main dining room. We were pleasantly surprised to never be disappointed by a main course. The meats were always tender, and the fish and shellfish were always perfectly cooked and not overdone. Syam and Juliana were our waiters, and were some of the best we've had.

We also enjoyed the two British-themed Pub Lunches in the Crown Grill. We also attended the Hawiian-themed lunch, but all agreed that those particular food items weren't spectacular.

One reason we loved this itinerary was the afternoon tea on sea days. However, we were disappointed by the 5pm time for 1st seating supper. This made tea time (3:30 to 4:15 pm) seem more like hors d'oeuvres before supper.

Fitness Center and Entertainment

The fitness center was small, and the low ceilings made it feel even smaller. We did appreciate the complimentary sauna.

We absolutely loved the live Amethyst Trio (classical instrumental music) performances in the piazza. However, we were disappointed by the lack of variety in the evening main theater entertainment (mostly comedians). But this gave us an excuse to go to bed early and get lots of extra sleep!

Ports

Hilo, Hawaii

We took a private excursion through Big Island Aina Tours to see Volcanoes National Park. We had a fantastic experience! It was quite chilly at the park, and we were grateful the tour confirmation had recommended bringing jackets.

Honolulu, Oahu

We hired a Lyft to and from the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and took a private tour offered to veterans and active-duty military and their families.

Nawiliwili, Kauai

We were disappointed that this port was bypassed due to inclement weather. We were grateful to have reserved our rental car through Costco, so there was no cancellation fee.

Lahaina, Maui

We booked a rental car through Costco (the company was Budget), and were picked up by the rental car shuttle. Because this was a tender port, it was about an hour from the time our tender number was called to the time we were driving off in our rental car. We drove to the Maui Pineapple Tour (Maui Gold Plantation) in Makawao (an hour drive with breathtaking scenery). The tour was informative, fun, and much cheaper than booking through the cruise line. We also stopped at a Costco on our way back to the ship. This is a great place to buy macadamia nut gift boxes. We also saw the Maui Gold labeled pineapples for sale there.

Ensenada, Mexico

We docked here, but our party opted to stay on the ship and catch up on calls and emails since Mexico is in our phone plan. We did enjoy seeing dozens of seals swimming in the harbor near the ship.

Disembarkation

Extremely easy and streamlined. We flew through customs, even though we were bringing home pineapples from Maui (we were told they were fine to bring back to the mainland, but one never knows with customs!).
Speller’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Oceanview (obstructed view)
Cabin OW
We were upgraded to this room (we booked an inside cabin). As an upgrade, it was fantastic, as we had a clear view of the ocean and sometimes glimpses of the sunset. We also appreciate the larger closet space Princess offers as compared to Royal Caribbean. However, we would not choose this cabin if we were paying for an outside room because the two fold-down bunks do not fold up into the ceiling. We had a few bumped heads in the night! My parents were also in an obstructed view cabin (E605), and the layout was much better (the window was not located at the head of the bed), and did not have fold-down bunks. The shower did not have much storage space for toiletries, but I brought some plastic suction hooks, which helped enormously. Magnetic hooks for the room were also helpful, as there were not many towel hooks in the room.
Emerald Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
    We took a private excursion through Big Island Aina Tours to see Volcanoes National Park. We had a fantastic experience! It was quite chilly at the park, and we were grateful the tour confirmation had recommended bringing jackets.
    View All 140 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Reviews
  • USS Arizona
    We hired a Lyft to and from the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and took a private tour offered to veterans and active-duty military and their families.
    View All 68 USS Arizona Reviews
  • Los Angeles
    Embarkation was a breeze in this large facility.
    View All 541 Los Angeles Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Los Angeles Cruise Port Review
  • Maui
    We booked a rental car through Costco (the company was Budget), and were picked up by the rental car shuttle. Because this was a tender port, it was about an hour from the time our tender number was called to the time we were driving off in our rental car. We drove to the Maui Pineapple Tour (Maui Gold Plantation) in Makawao (an hour drive with breathtaking scenery). The tour was informative, fun, and much cheaper than booking through the cruise line. We also stopped at a Costco on our way back to the ship. This is a great place to buy macadamia nut gift boxes. We also saw the Maui Gold labeled pineapples for sale there.
    View All 13,942 Maui Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Maui Cruise Port Review